University of Washington - B.A. in Psychology
University of Washington - Masters in Teaching
When Ameilia Keely first heard of Stella & Dot, she was intrigued but extremely skeptical. Still, she was unhappy with her teacher's salary and eager to pay off a loan quickly — so, she figured it was worth a try.
When she started in late 2009 she had no idea what to do, so she just watched videos, read the guide and went for it. She knew that the more trunk shows she booked, the more money she would make, and made that her sole focus. Then, just a couple months later, in February 2010, she was first in sales in the company. "That’s when it hit me that I COULD do this and I can show others how to do it, too," Amelia writes.
Now, Amelia is one of the Founding Directors for the company and is continuing to grow her business. And she has the flexibility and time she craved when she first started: She'll be able to take maternity leave for the whole year from teaching (she's expecting her first child in July!) and continue to run her Stella & Dot business. Amelia says, "I really do feel like I’ve just begun."
If you’re not happy with your life, you should change it.
Stella & Dot Week: This interview is part one in a series of five interviews featuring Stella & Dot employees this week.
How did you discover your current job? Tell us a little bit about the path that led you to where you are today.
I’ve always been a bit of an overachiever. No matter what stage of my life I’m in, I always like to have a full plate. When I clear something off, I seem to find something new to replace it.
When I found Stella & Dot, I was newly married and had just started my fourth year of teaching. I had recently quit coaching high school volleyball, because every day I found myself either in the classroom or in a gym, and not with my new husband. I wasn’t satisfied with my predetermined, set teaching salary. It really bothered me that no matter what kind of effort I was putting into teaching my students or how effective I was as an educator, that my ability didn’t affect my compensation.
My girlfriend hosted a Stella & Dot trunk show that I couldn’t attend, but she told me about how she got $250 in free jewelry for hosting. I had never heard of or been to any in-home parties, so I didn’t know how it worked. I thought that if she got that much free jewelry from the company, how much did the girl who sold the jewelry get? I talked to her stylist and found out that for each trunk show, she makes on average $300. I was intrigued, yet extremely skeptical. After I twisted my new husband’s arm (because we didn’t have a lot of extra cash), I jumped in. My original goal was to make an extra $500 a month. Now my goal is to make a six-figure income, and my husband is more than glad I talked him into it!
What is your typical day like, and what types of things do you do in your job?
That’s one great thing about being a stylist -- there is no “typical day.” Certain days I’m working at my computer (probably in pajamas) coaching new stylists on my team, calling upcoming hostesses to plan their trunk shows and sending emails. Another day, I might be meeting girls at coffee for training, traveling to a nearby city or going to do a trunk show. It’s up to me, and I cherish that freedom.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
There are so many! A real sense of self-accomplishment, freedom, helping other women succeed, the community of women I work with, the trips I’ve earned and honestly, the money. It’s great to finally feel my efforts are rewarded with compensation.
Currently, the most rewarding part is that I can now quit my teaching job and stay home with my baby (due in July), yet still make more than I did teaching.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
All the unfinished things that I couldn’t fit in that day. There’s always so much more I could be doing to build my business, but there’s not enough time in the day. I love that there is a lot of untapped potential, but it drives me nuts at the same time to have to put some things on the back burner.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
When I was building up my Stella & Dot business during full-time teaching, I had to give up a lot of my free time. I missed some dinners with friends or family events. I hated that because I’m very social and a people pleaser. Now however, it’s affording me more free time than I had before starting! It was worth it.
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
You never know where one interaction with someone or a particular trunk show might lead you. Don’t take anything for granted … I love the big and small trunk shows, and all customers the same for this reason.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today?
Trying to wear too many hats and doing them all perfectly. That work-life balance that everyone is ferociously trying to master.
Who are your role models?
I really don’t have any role models. There are traits from many different women that I admire and try to emulate. I guess as cliché as it is, my mother. I’m always in awe of her. She works full days as a dental hygienist, then works out and comes home to cook a meal from scratch. She’ll switch over the laundry and make her husband a lunch all with a smile on her face. Just thinking about it makes me tired.
What are some of the rules you live by?
This is something I try to teach my students in the classroom all of the time … YOU are in charge of you. Plain and simple. I think this applies in relationships, business and all parts of life. If you’re not happy with your life, you should change it.
What advice do you have for women who want to be in your industry?
What are you waiting for?! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Jump in with both feet and have a piece of this pie because there is plenty to go around.
What are three things you love aside from your job?
My husband, Jesse. I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot in husbands! I love hanging out with him. I’m so enamored with him, even more now that we’re having our first baby - maybe it’s the hormones.
Traveling. Even it it’s just a little “mini vacay” anywhere. I have a weird love for staying in hotels!
Working out and living a healthy lifestyle. I work out so I can eat. I love taking classes at my gym and all the relationships I have there. My husband tells me I just do it for the community and all the socializing, which is often true, but hey, whatever gets me there!
What’s your favorite wear-to-work piece from Stella & Dot’s Summer Collection?
Wear to school to teach? It has to be simple, so I don’t distract the kids! Probably the Together Forever necklace.
Wear to a trunk show? A statement necklace for sure! My current favorite is the Palamino Necklace.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would have never in a million years thought that I’d be 30 years old, a director at jewelry company and leading a team of women. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I’m glad that Jessica Herrin, our CEO, had an idea that she made into reality, so that women like me can create their own life, on our own terms.